Fall off the map
My Land Registry map has left out a field of my farm. What can I do?
Firstly you can inspect the title map for your farm on the Property Registration Authority website Landdirect.ie online for free. It helps if you know your folio or title number.
Read the map in conjunction with your folio and make sure you understand the significance of the various legends and symbols appearing on the map.
Agricultural land is invariably freehold registered land and is marked by a pattern of tiny red dots with boundaries outlined in red on the online Land Registry map.
What if you see that a field has been left out of your map that you and your family have farmed for generations? Maybe you only bought the land some years ago? Dont panic!
Such situations arise from time to time and in the usual course can be remedied. There may have been a mapping error way back when the property was vested originally by the Irish Land Commission in the early 20th century and registered in Land Registry.
If it was bought recently, it may be that there was an mapping error when the field was acquired by you. There may have been a mapping error when your title was being conveyed or when your title was being registered in the Land Registry.
There may even have been an informal ‘swap’ of fields with your neighbours way back that was never formally registered.
Or an error may have arisen when the Land Registry map was computerised.
You may not be reading the map correctly!
The first step is to make application for an Official Mapping Search from Land Registry. This application is made in Land Registry Form 89 which can be printed down from Landdirect.ie.
The application should be accompanied by a suitable map, with the field omitted from your title outlined in red, together with the fee of €40.
A suitable map is one on which the location of the property can be clearly ascertained, eg a Land Registry Title Plan or a Land Registry Compliant map which you can get from the Ordnance Survey.
The official search certificate will provide you with the folio or title number for the land, if registered.
You can then order a copy of the folio/title and title map online from Land Registry for €40. Again this can be done online via Landdirect.ie.
If the official folio/title confirms that you still have a mapping problem, the next thing to do is to contact the Land Registry providing them with the details, the search certificate and the folio/title plan and ask them to investigate the mapping of your property.
The Land Registry will check and see if the registration made was in accordance with the deeds and maps originally lodged.
If an error was made in Land Registry and it is of the opinion that the error can be rectified without loss to any person, then it can rectify the error after serving notices on any party who may be affected.
It occurs occasionally that the portion is incorrectly included in anothers persons title. In such case the Land Registry may with the consent of the registered owner and such other person who may be interested rectify the error by agreement. This is what is known as the ‘Deed of Rectification’ solution.
If the registration made was in accordance with the deeds and maps originally lodged then you should go to your solicitor who will take up the matter with the party from whom you acquired the field and will attempt remedy the problem either by way of a Deed of Rectification or Deed of Transfer, depending on the extent of the mapping error.
If an interested party refuses to coperate then unforunately it may be necessary to take court proceedings but this is the exception.
Rectification may run into difficulty if the property has been mortaged or sold on as the court will only order rectification of the mapping error if it can be rectified without injustice to any person.
If there had been an informal ‘swap’ of fields with your neighbour way back which was never formally registered then that can be rectified by what is colloqually called a ‘squatters’ long possession application to Land Registry. For this you will need to go to your solicitor.
You will have to provide your solicitor with full details of when your or your predecessors originally entered into occupation of the field, and the use and occupation and acts of ownership exercised over the field by you and them over the years.
Finally once you identify that there is a mapping problem proceed with caution. Be careful, if at all possible, not to upset your neighbour.
What is detailed above is a very basic guide as to what is involved when you identify a mapping difficulty on your farm.
Once you identify that there is a mapping problem do not proceed without legal advice!
John Deeney is a barrister and former Deputy Registrar of Titles in the Property Registration Authority. He now provides Land Registration Consultancy Services.
Next week Mr Deeney will have a column on:
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